Just in time for Valentine's Day comes new federal data showing that more American woman are using newer methods of birth control, such as emergency contraception and implants, to prevent pregnancy – and about 11 percent have used emergency birth control like the “Plan B” pill, with 59 percent of them using it only once, the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) reported on Thursday.
Approximately half of the women reported using the morning-after pill because they feared the birth control they were already using, such as a condom, had failed. The other half said they used it because they had unprotected sex, according to Kimberly Daniels and colleagues at NCHS, which is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The NCHS report says 82 percent of women say they have used birth control pills, according to the NCHS report, which also says the number of women using more traditional birth control methods has held steady since the 1990s.
The most popular method of birth control by far continues to be condoms, which also protect against sexually transmitted diseases.
“The proportion of females who’ve had a male partner use a condom rose from 52 percent in 1982, to 82 percent in 1995, and 93.4 percent in 2006-2010,” the report states.
The NCHS also found women choosing newer, longer-lasting birth control methods like patches or implants.
“The percentage who’ve ever used Depo-Provera, a 3-month injectable contraceptive, has increased from 4.5 percent of women in 1995 to 23 percent in 2006-2010,” said the NCHS in a statement.
As for older birth control devices like the IUD, which are inserted into the uterus to prevent unwanted pregnancy, fewer women are using them even though they are highly effective and safe. According to the report, only 7.7 percent of women said they used an IUD between 2006 and 2010, which is down significantly compared to 18 percent of women using the device in 1982.
Use of another older birth control device is also down. The diaphragm, which 17 percent of women had tried using in 1982, is used by only 3 percent of women today, according to data from the latest survey.
The NCHS report uses data from 12,000 women surveyed by the federal government between 2006 and 2010. “Virtually all women of reproductive age in 2006–2010 who had ever had sexual intercourse have used at least one contraceptive method at some point in their lifetime (99 percent, or 53 million women aged 15–44),” the report said.
Obama administration rules now require health insurers to provide birth control care for free, without even a co-pay.